Cancer stricken daughter teaches dad a lesson on the importance of ‘being brave’


‘Hey Dad, I haven’t been feeling too well. Could you take me to the doctor? I think I might have a sinus infection.’: It turns out his daughter’s sinus infection was anything but…. a powerful real life story will send chills down your spine.

What does bravery truly mean? Is it about facing scary things, or is it about having the strength to remain resilient even when you’re aware that the end is near and the battle you fought so fiercely is lost?

During the most challenging moments, a 16-year-old girl found courage in supporting her father, who remained by her side unwaveringly.

The following story was shared by a man named Tom Mitchell.

The caring dad remembered his daughter saying she felt sick and needed to see a doctor because she thought she had a sinus infection.

He replied, “Of course, darling. I’ll come to get you after school tomorrow. If you’d like, we can have dinner together afterwards.”

The next day, they did share a meal, but not at their preferred restaurant. Instead, they struggled to eat the food at the pediatric oncology unit of Fairfax Hospital. This was just one of the 450 meals that the father and daughter would have there, along with many more in the years to come.

The girl didn’t have a sinus infection, but a large tumor that had spread to her lungs and caused one of them to collapse.

They knew it wouldn’t be easy, but they were determined to face the challenge together.

Shayla was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s disease.

Tom purchased two sterling silver ‘feather’ bracelets and wore one on each wrist while discussing the importance of bravery and facing life’s challenges.

He made three promises: to wear the bracelet until Shayla was cancer-free, to stay at the hospital every night, and to stay strong as long as she did.

Shayla fought cancer for many years, enduring chemotherapy, pain medication, radiation, blood transfusions, and more. The treatments took a toll on her body, weakening her heart and requiring the installation of a defibrillator.

One day, as Shayla was getting ready for a chemo treatment, she suddenly started yelling, “Help me Dad! IT’S SHOCKING ME! …IT’S SHOCKING ME!”

Tom proceeded to describe the events that had transpired. “I embraced her tightly, trying to hold on as strongly as possible. It startled her once more, almost causing her to be forcefully released from my grasp. However, I was determined not to let go. I continued to hold onto her as tightly as I could, and suddenly, the shocking sensation ceased as abruptly as it had begun. Without wasting any time, we hurried to the hospital.”

The device manufacturer had to recall many units because they were malfunctioning, including the one implanted in Shayla’s chest.

After that came additional chemotherapy sessions, more blood transfusions, an unsuccessful bone marrow transplant, and numerous agonizing nights without sleep. However, Shayla never considered quitting, not until the very last moment.

I was really worried about how I would talk to my daughter. How could I find the courage to tell her that she was going to die? I once heard a quote that really stuck with me. It said, “Can a person still be brave if they are scared? That is the only time they can be brave.” I knew I had to be brave for her. So, I gathered all my courage and had that conversation with her. And you won’t believe it, but it turned out to be the most incredible, beautiful, and magical conversation I’ve ever had in my whole life. I hope you never have to experience something like that. Tom shared.

“Am I still brave Dad?,” she whispered softly in his ear.

He gazed directly into her eyes and peered into her innermost being. He understood that she was exhausted from battling and couldn’t continue, but then he had a chilling realization. She wasn’t courageous for her own sake, she was courageous for him!

Sadly, Shayla passed away a couple of days later, but her father will always remember her courage and resilience.

Shayla, may you find eternal peace.

Don’t forget to spread this heartwarming story with your loved ones on Facebook.

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